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Law And Order season eighteen episode reviews

Law And Order, Sam Waterston, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jesse L. Martin, Alana De La Garza, Jeremy Sisto, Linus Roache

Season 18, Episode 1. "Called Home" A pedestrian story can't hide the fact that Law & Order has a cool cop again. Jeremy Sisto makes a superb impression in his debut. He's a great screen presence and steals every scene he appears in. I have not watched Law & Order in many, many years, but this might make me want to go back. I hope the second episode has a decent story, not dated rubbish like this.

Season 18, Episode 2. "Darkness" Lupo's second case is much better than his first. A murder and kidnapping occurs during a city-wide black-out. Consequently it feels like no episode of Law & Order I ever saw back in the 90s. It's also got a few good action scenes, where Lupo comes off as a very determined cop indeed. He and Green work well together.

Season 18, Episode 3. "Misbegotten" The strongest episode so far. Lupo, once again, is great fun to watch (breaking the rules to track down a bomber). There's a clumsy attempt to give Green a backstory, but this is Lupo's show all the way. Great work, too, from guest star Kevin Rankin.

Season 18, Episode 4. "Bottomless" Great! An engrossing, complex (but never confusing) story. A young lawyer is murdered over a pair of pants (!!), and the case leads our heroes to a multinational corporation with far too much power. It's riveting from start to finish, and does one of the things that this show does best: create truly hateful bad guys and make us think that they will get away with it because of legal loop-holes. I've liked Lupo since the start of the season, but this is the first episode where I've really liked Cutter and been impressed by him. I loved his stunt at the end, and his attitude is starting to impress me almost as much as Lupo's.

Season 18, Episode 5. "Driven" is another example of Law And Order at it's very best. Unlike the previous episode (which had a complex story of international crime) this one is very much about the shooting of one little girl. And, without ever making a bit deal about her death, the episode manages to make it all the more sad and haunting. The events surrounding her shooting involve two irresponsible parents urging their children into a racially-motivated confrontation. And both end up on trial at the same time. Superb.

Season 18, Episode 6. "Political Animal" The show often sends it's detectives down the wrong path for much of their investigation. This is one of those times. Three victims and the guys investigate the wrong one for the first third of the episode. It's a device, I suppose, to tell two stories and - more importantly - allow the 'main storyline' to occupy as much time as it needs without any padding. So, in this episode we get to see the story of a politician who is secretly gay and living a double life. And, once the real motive/killer is found, we switch to the story of con-man working amid the politicians of New York. He's a fascinating character and it's a fascinating episode. John Ortiz gives a stunning performance as the deluding (and deluded) central character, and the episode gives us a fascinating insight into his mindset.

Season 18, Episode 7. "Quit Claim" It opens with a gut-wrenching crime. Horrific yet kept off-screen in this classy series. You are outraged and cannot wait for the cops/heroes to arrive to make sure justice is done. Green and Lupo do not disappoint. They are two of TV coolest cops. Yet, as is normal on this show, the case is full of twists and turns and - in the end - the killer gets away. It's a superb story. With great story arcs for McCoy (who is bad-ass cool as he goes up against the US Attorney's Office) and Cutter (who is severely tempted to do the wrong thing for the right reasons). His dilemma in the final minute of the episode gives the tale a powerful emotional climax. Alana De La Garza gets a lot of screen time in this one and we get a good sense of how Rubirosa operates (going undercover with Lupo, spotting a vital clue and managing to pull a very clever stunt in the courtroom using an old photograph or herself). It's also fun to watch how the men behave around to this very beautiful woman: Lupo stealing a kiss while undercover and Cutter making blatant reference to her being way out of his league. She is! And split-second moments like this do wonders to humanise the characters in an otherwise story-driven tv series.

Season 18, Episode 8. "Illegal" When it looks as if a cop might have killed an innocent bystander during a riot, the case causes problems for Van Buren, Lupo and McCoy. The episode glances at the first two, and devotes most of it's second half to Jack McCoy: one of television's greatest heroes, played to perfection (once again) by Sam Waterston. Waterson is so suited to the role of "the boss" that's it's hard to believe he spent more than a decade being "the lead". Jeremy Sisto and Linus Roache are terrific, too. Very cool. And I loved their little exchange as Lupo read his law book. But the episode belongs to McCoy and his speech on the stand was wonderful. Bad-ass cool.

Season 18, Episode 9. "Executioner" Death Sentence Gone Wrong! Another one of those great episodes were there are no clear bad guys, just a lot of moral ambiguity. Except for Cutter, who sees the world in black and white. Connie proves her value to the team (yet again) by reining him in at the end of the episode and helping bring about a milder sentence. Michael Rooker and James Rebhorn give great performances in this one. And it's a satisfying, if typical, episode of Law And Order.

Season 18, Episode 10. "Tango" Michael Cutter has a hopeless crush on Connie Rubirosa and it's part of the reason I am in love with this show (all over again). This is the one that has Connie getting an email praising her technique in the courtroom. Her technique and her legs. Cutter comments that he agrees. I don't blame him. I would pay good money to see Alana De La Garza walk around a room. She's amazing. And, as a die-hard fan who watched every episode of the Angie Harmon/Jill Hennessy/Carey Lowell seasons, I think De La Garza is the most beautiful woman who has ever sat in the A.D.A. chair on Law And Order. Great then, to see an episode about her appearance and it's effect on the men/man in the jury and the case under trial.

The show slipped up somewhat by getting the guy in the jury to play it like a creep (that wasn't needed to make the story work, and - in fact - kinda damaged it) but it was still a great episode. The final debate scene was superb. Cutter and Rubirosa arguing their respective corners and Jack standing watching. Watching and listening and saying... nothing. Great character work. I feel like I really know and love these two new characters as much as I know and love Jack. And it's a good story idea: the impact a woman's sexuality can have on her success in the workplace. And, unlike many other shows that have touched on this idea, Law And Order gives it just the right amount of screentime and doesn't let it interfere with the case-of-the-week.

Season 18, Episode 11. "Betrayal" The highlight of this episode is a very strong story with a great twist ending. Basically, when you boil it down to essentials: A woman shoots and kills her husband when she finds taped messages from him to a woman he loves. In the end, it is revealed that the messages were to her. The story is a lot more complex than that, but that's the essence of it, and it's a heartbreaking twist. Moira Kelly (who I normally don't like) is very good as the wife whose husband, a therapist, has a history of seducing underage girls (her!) and is suspected of doing it again. The script does a great job of putting forward both sides of the story and (the ever-wonderful) Carolyn McCormick returns to the show for a substantial part in the story. Olivet (always a favourite character of mine) goes head to head with McCoy and comes off worst in the battle when he reveals that she had an affair with (I presume) Mike Logan.

Law And Order has come to life again this season (for me) with a slew of great new characters (Lupo, Cutter, etc.) but I'm glad they are still giving meaty roles to the ones I've always liked (McCoy, Olivet, etc.).

Season 18, Episode 12. "Submission" An unrecognisable Lara Flynn Boyle can't save this episode from mediocrity. She's good. But it's an average tale of people plotting a murder and framing their friend. Average fare for a quality show like this.

Season 18, Episode 13. "Angelgrove" In a show without continuity and character development, fans jump on any moment of either. Such it is with me in this latest episode. McCoy and Olivet had harsh words in a previous episode (when he engineered it so her affair with a cop would come out) and in this one there's a line of dialogue where he attempts to mend the bridge between then (thanking her for helping out on the current case). She declines to respond and leaves the room.

It's a strong case-of-the-week. Nothing new in it, really but still a great story: a camp where Christian kids are trained as Soldiers Of God, and one of them goes home and stones his adulterous mother to death.

Lead guest star Sean Astin gives a great performance. When does he ever give a bad one?

Season 18, Episode 14. "Burn Card" GREAT. A script with a very difficult job. Since this is the last episode for Jesse L. Martin, the story has to service him and his character (Ed Green) so that his fans won't feel short-changed. It succeeds. Green shoots a criminal, appears to have planned the murder to cover his own dark deeds (as if!) and is cleared with the revelation that he is covering for someone that he feels responsible for. At the end, he walks out as even more of a hero. Nice.

Amazingly, the script is not dominated by Green. In fact, four of the other five regulars get very meaty roles. The episode gives Jeremy Sisto/Lupo lots of key scenes, too. Confusion over his partner's involvement, passion to clear Green, outrage over the way the D.A.'s are handling it, etc. Lupo continues to be my favourite new TV cop.

Speaking of the D.A.'s this is one of the best-ever episodes for Alana De La Garza and Linus Roache (and their characters). Cutter (to his credit) goes after Green as he would any suspect, while Rubirosa has never been cooler as she defies Cutter (in open court) and de-rails one of the prosecution witnesses. You can almost hear her heart beating in terror, and their confrontation afterwards is the sort of solid character scene the show rarely bothers to do.

Even S. Epatha Merkerson gets lots to do. Van Buren's relationship with Green, Lupo and (new regular) Bernard is explored in several instances. The writers even manage to give Bernard lots of good solid character moments. His introduction as a potential replacement for Green is a bit heavy-handed, unfortunately, but in an episode this great that is not a major problem.

I've enjoyed these 14 episodes of Law And Order as much as any episode from the first decade of the show. While Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth will always be the quintessential detective duo on the show Green and Lupo come pretty darn close (in my book) and I've had an absolute ball watching them together this season. I wish Martin/Green was staying, to be honest.

Season 18, Episode 15. "Bogeyman" It's great to see Nicki Aycox in a good guest role, but this is a weak story. It's mostly about a crazy religious group which is very similar to a story from two weeks ago, and the killer is too much of a nut to be believed. He shoots his wife for very odd/fuzzy reasons, he throws himself out a 4th floor window to frame somebody and he is tricked - at the very end - by some very wacky logic. I bought none of it. Too early, also, to see if I am warming to Lupo's new partner.

Season 18, Episode 16. "Strike" Superb. Rubirosa takes centre stage when a judge compels her to defend a murder suspect. It's a strong case-of-the-week, the main guest star is great, but the episode belongs to Alana De La Garza.

Connie makes a great lead character. I've loved the scenes where she had conflict with Cutter (who is hopelessly in love with her) and it's a no-brainer that I would love an episode where she goes up against him in court. And runs rings around him. Even better, towards the end, she finds out that her client is very, very guilty and has to figure out how to continue her defence in good conscience.

It's great stuff. Particularly the scenes where Connie goes to Jack for advice. Great stuff from Jack McCoy in this one. In fact, all three lawyers come off as great characters in this episode.

Brad William Henke (of October Road & Dexter) is stunningly good as the murder suspect. We believe in him every step of the way. Except, it turns out that he is a very, very clever murderer. Great twist. It works because the actor is superb.

Season 18, Episode 17. "Personae Non Grata" Law And Order normally doesn't make me laugh, but this episode had me laughing out loud all the way through. Why? Partly because the events of the story are so absurd and partly because the guest stars are fantastic.

A middle-aged (and very ordinary) married man masquerades online as a tough young marine and enters into an online romance with a hot teenage babe. Who isn't... Nope! Turns out that it's just her mom. Her shallow, pathetic mom using sexy pictures of her own daughter to meet and con men online. Yes there is more to it, involving a couple of murders, but that is the core of the story this week. And it is a hoot from start to finish. I loved it.

Casting was amazing. Melissa Leo owns the episode from start to finish. She's amazing. She's always amazing. I love her work. From Homicide to Veronica Mars, I have always loved what this lady can do with a role. Her opposite number in this tale is Barry Del Sherman. He's hilarious. His character cannot grasp the reality of the situation at all. And still refuses (quite late in the story) to believe that the mother wrote the e-mails to him, not the daughter. His determination to remain deluded is fascinating, tragic and... very, very funny.

Season 18, Episode 18. "Excalibur" The show brings the eighteenth season to an ending with one of the strongest episodes ever. The case-of-the-week is good. A man murders his brother-in-law as a means towards getting back into the family business. He's also hiding a dirty little secret: he runs a prostitution ring on the side. And, in the second half of the story, this takes centre stage as Jack and the team discover that one of the clients is the governor (who has appeared on the show before as a political friend of Jack's). This is where the story heads into A+ territory, as we see Jack caught up in all sorts of political games as he tries to see justice done.

This is one of the episodes where the good guys lose. The killer pleads guilty, so that a trial is avoided, and it is implied that the governor will grant him early release after a few years. In the closing moments Jack and his team take stock of how all the witnesses are disappearing, or being taken care of, in sundry underhanded ways. It's a nice, dark, conspiracy-laden conclusion. I hope the show returns to the story of the Governor and gives Jack a chance to take him down.

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